Work-Based Learning in Colorado, Kansas, and Oklahoma
The Central and South Central Comprehensive Centers (C3/SC3) at the University of Oklahoma are involved in technical assistance delivery of work-based learning (WBL) efforts with its partner, the College and Career Readiness and Success (CCRS) Center, in the national State WBL Initiative. This initiative is organized around peer-to-peer networks that focus on specific WBL priorities to promote cross-state learning and engage external WBL experts. The CCRS Center and partners convened a workshop entitled Designing and Implementing Quality Work-Based Learning Systems: A Collaborative Workshop for States and Districts on September 24-25, in Savannah, Georgia. C3 and SC3 analyzed current state WBL initiatives during the workshop with state teams from the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE), and Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE). Leadership staff members from Kansas and Colorado (C3 region) and Oklahoma (SC3 region) shared how their states are improving upon work-based learning opportunities. The state teams engaged in sessions led by experts in the field, heard about the progress and challenges other states are facing, discussed strategies for improving WBL efforts, explored evidence-based approaches on personalized pathways, and solved common problems of practice. C3 and SC3 continue to work with CDE, KSDE, and OSDE to build collaborative networks, support development of an inventory of tools and resources, and model programs on WBL best practices. States are achieving outcomes resulting in the development and implementation of sustainable, high-quality WBL opportunities and programs for ALL students, especially for those at-risk and disadvantaged secondary students. The end goal is to expand student access to WBL experiences as a strategy to improve student college and career readiness.